“Ladies are gonna love Magic Mike,” enthuses Variety‘s Peter Debruge. “A lively male-stripper meller inspired by Channing Tatum‘s late-teen, pre-screen stint as an exotic dancer, it supplies more low-calorie fun than any Steven Soderbergh movie since Ocean’s Eleven. This breezy offering ought to be subtitled ‘How Steven Got His Groove Back,’ as its typically high-minded director drops pretentions like tear-away pants.

“Meanwhile, enlisting a squad of Hollywood hunks to strip down to their thongs alongside him, Tatum (backed by producing partner Reid Carolin) drains the shame from a profession that gets no respect, serving up a guiltless girls’ night out likely to rank among the summer’s word-of-mouth sensations.

“Soderbergh is in excellent form here, putting aside the ambitious experimentation that threw a wet blanket on such ostensibly sexy projects as Full Frontal and The Girlfriend Experience, while re-embracing the shooting techniques missing from Contagion and Haywire. (Once again, he serves as his own d.p., under the pseudonym Peter Andrews.) Tatum reportedly first approached Nicolas Winding Refn about making Magic Mike, but here he has the benefit of not only Soderbergh’s commercial savvy, but also the good-humored generosity and keen anthropological interest the helmer brings to every project.

“No moment captures that sensibility better than an oblique glimpse of backstage ‘fluffing’ — sure to rank among the year’s most amusing shots.”

Magic Mike opens on Friday, 6.29.

Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer.